updated 09:35 am EDT, Fri July 23, 2010
Verizon grows through Droid but slower than ATT
Verizon today posted results for the spring that showed Android's increasing help to the carrier. It added 1.4 million total new customers in the past quarter to reach 92.1 million total. While the number is smaller than AT&T's 1.6 million, Verizon added a larger 665,000 full postpaid (regular) subscribers to AT&T's 496,000, indicating that more of AT&T's additions were prepaid and weren't buying smartphones or similar devices.
The CDMA provider also had very slightly lower turnover rates, at 1.27 percent total and 0.94 percent for its coveted postpaid users. Its average revenue per person also soared 11.4 percent overall versus spring a year ago, when Android wasn't on the carrier at all; data revenue jumped higher still with a 19.4 percent increase.
Most of the company's success is likely attributable to the HTC Droid Incredible, which launched in late April and has been in perpetual shortage due both to demand as well as Samsung's AMOLED shortages. Even without regular retail supply, however, the original Motorola Droid has continued to sell well and is only now being phased out as the Droid X and Droid 2 take its place.
The performance could give Android a significantly greater standing in the US, although without a by-device breakdown the results won't be immediately evident. While Android phones are considered Verizon's main attraction, it isn't as dependent on the lineup as AT&T is on iPhone sales and may see its growth split up to include BlackBerry phones.
Verizon swung from a profit a year ago to a loss this spring, but the measure was the result of $2.3 billion in costs to encourage about 11,000 "voluntary" job exits and save money in the long term. It also paid a much smaller amount as part of spinning off the rural-focused Frontier landline phone service.
During a call discussing the results, Verizon headed off worries of tiered data plans in the near future. The provider is studying AT&T's 2GB and under plans, but it's not in a haste to emulate its rival's strategy. Verizon has warned that phones like the Droid X use much more data but has yet to have the heavy 3G network burden that pushed AT&T to cap use at 2GB and charge overage fees.